Latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has shown 45 Victorian building and construction businesses declared themselves insolvent in November 2023.

The November figure follows a total of 64 building and construction insolvencies in October 2023, 52 in September 2023 and 86 in August 2023.

The worst month on record for building and construction insolvencies was in July 2019 when 112 Victorian businesses entered into external administration.

Master Builders Victoria (MBV) CEO Michaela Lihou said while the numbers remain concerningly high, there was a a welcome softening trend starting to emerge. 

“We have to remember that the building and construction industry is certainly not the only sector experiencing the squeeze delivered by of high levels of inflation and a challenging business environment,” she said.

“In fact in the last financial year, Victoria was the only state that recorded a decline in the number of businesses across all jurisdictions.” 

Ms Lihou said there was a level of volatility in some areas of the sector with a spike in the number of sole traders ‘exiting’ the industry in 2022-23, following a major spike in the number of sole traders ‘entering’ the industry in 2021-22.

“While it’s not immediately clear exactly what the primary drive has been for those sole traders to make the decision to leave the sector, it does raise the potential question about what level of business and financial skills some of those business owners had,” she said.

“We know from speaking to our members that they’re looking for small business support training and that’s an area where we are trying to add extra support in 2024.”

Ms Lihou said the organisation was about to undertake a pilot program with the Melbourne Business School this February as part of its ongoing commitment to upskilling the industry, with the introduction of the MBV Small Business Finance Essentials Program.

“Getting to grips with finance and how it drives your business is a crucial management skill. A sound grasp of financial matters is essential, and this workshop is an intensive one-day exploration of all aspects of this challenging and very important field,” said Ms Lihou.
“The program will be facilitated by Business School Program Director, Henry Botha who has more than 30 years' experience across the finance industry and is well-known for breaking-down finance into straightforward steps, while presenting in a highly interesting and engaging manner.”

The first program will take place on Wednesday February 21, from 8:00am-4:00pm at the MBV  East Melbourne headquarters and will be offered at the special introductory rate of $1,045 (incl. GST) per person.

Full details can be found at MBV Small Business Finance Essentials Program - MBAV Training

“As we all know, trying to run a business in the building and construction sector is about much more than being a professional on the tools. We are committed to doing what we can to provide access to the business support and training that our membership is looking for.”

“And of course, we realise that our industry is bigger than just our members,” said Ms Lihou.

“So this important training opportunity will be open to anyone – members or non-members in the sector - as there are many trades and professions right across our industry and we want to support as many of them as we can.”

AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT: Master Builders Victoria CEO  Michaela Lihou

Media enquiries: Leigh McClusky 0411 711 780 [email protected]